By Pierre Langlais
I did not know that vampires speak Swedish…
In the beginning, we wanted Eric to have a very strong accent, exotic compared to that of other vampires, who all have a Southern accent. And then, I said to myself that it wouldn’t make sense for a guy who has been around for centuries to have an accent, but immense linguistic knowledge – he would speak French, English and another good thirty languages. Since I come from Stockholm, Sweden, I thought Eric could speak an impeccable English, and here and there introduce a few sentences in Swedish, especially when he speaks to Pam, his companion – interpreted by Kristin Bauer, who does not understand a single word I say, or her own lines, but she plays it well.
Vampires are everywhere nowadays. How is True Blood different from Twilight, the Vampire Diaries, etc.?
What interested me in True Blood is the humanity of the vampires, and their fight to integrate society. We easily sympathize with their pains, moments of doubt, their feelings, because in the end, they are similar to humans and have similar feelings.
Is the second season any different?
Regarding the vampires, I’m not too sure. However, for me, it is a whole other story. In season 1, Eric is a secondary character. We barely meet him. He is only “Bill’s evil boss”. In season 2, he gains depth, and we understand that he is much more than that. He has a sensitive side, passionate, and can be a dear friend. He does not like a lot of people, but he is very devoted to those whom he does. This second season is also much more phantasmagorical…
The first season was an introduction, an invitation to enter the world of True Blood. Now that this is done, the show can let go and do all sorts of crazy things which we see in the second chapter.
It appears that the racial metaphor is more discreet, giving way to emotions, love, hatred, brotherhood of vampires. What do you think?
One can never “act” a metaphor. It has to be subtly scattered in the subtext of the show. Everything must become personal, private rather than be more general. I think Alan Ball managed to do this in both seasons, not only in the second one…
What kind of society is the vampire society, of which Eric is a pivotal element?
It is a very hierarchical society. Relations between vampires are clearly defined by lines no one would even think of crossing. One of the key elements of this organization is the bond between a vampire and their maker, like Eric and Godric. Godric is is father, his brother, his best friend…
How does one play a vampire? How do you channel Eric?
I asked myself how the knowledge, experience and wisdom of a 1000 year old person would influence people around them. Someone as powerful and experienced as Eric does not need to show off. He only has to whisper and people will listen to what he has to say and obey him. I took inspiration from a documentary film on lions I saw on TV. The way the male moves around, confident, full of grace, calm and quietly menacing. You do something wrong, and you die. Deep down, Eric is a lion, an animal.
Finally, a question about Generation Kill. What do you keep from this experience?
It is most probably the most exhilarating part of my career. We spent several months in the African desert to shoot the show, which was not an easy thing, but the quality of the script was so good… In the US, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are censured. Generation Kill gives the point of view of those who did fight those wars, and who advised us on set. It was an unforgettable experience.
True Blood, season 2, Tuesday, 21h30, Orange Cinémax.
SOURCE: Générique (Tack to Stephane for the translation…puss puss sötnos!)
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